The Text Prize is going from strength to strength, as the publisher continues to choose winners that push the boundaries of young adult fiction. The latest winner, The Bridge, is brilliant. Every sentence is skillfully crafted, with just enough left unsaid that the reader is always hungry for more. In a futuristic world, Nik and his friends must choose their loyalties in a war that is not as clear as they were brought up to think. Nik has spent his life training to join an elite group fighting the hostiles across the eponymous bridge. But when his college is blown up, and his friend kidnapped, Nik must venture into hostile territory, where he finds answers to questions that he never thought to ask. With YA dystopia still going strong, older readers of the genre will love this latest offering. Like all good dystopian fiction, there are plenty of parallels between the book and issues in our own society: racism, loyalty, fear and the futility of war are all themes that are addressed in a thoughtful and considered manner by the author. Importantly, the issues in The Bridge do not come at the expense of the action, and a fast pace is maintained throughout, while the characters are complex and interesting enough that it is virtually impossible to leave their side as the story crashes on. This is a breathtaking first novel.
Bec Kavanagh is a Melbourne-based writer and reviewer and an ex-bookseller. This interview first appeared in the the Junior Term 2 supplement of the June issue of Bookseller+Publisher magazine. Read Junior Term 2 online here and sign-up to The Junior Newsletter.